In the 10 months since the passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), cities and counties have been working to prioritize and execute investing of their portion of the act’s $350 billion in flexible State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) dollars. And as recent Treasury Department guidance made clear, local leaders have myriad options to use these resources to address the direct health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to confront the underlying challenges that exacerbated the pandemic’s negative effects on vulnerable individuals, businesses, and communities.
To illuminate the many options at communities’ disposal, we are introducing the Local Government ARPA Investment Tracker, a joint project of Brookings Metro, the National Association of Counties (NACo), and the National League of Cities (NLC). This tool adds to other important efforts to understand local ARPA implementation, including Results for America’s ARP Data and Evidence Dashboard, and the Treasury Department’s analysis of highlights from initial SLFRF reports.
Communities have until 2024 to fully plan for and commit their funds, and until 2026 to spend them. Local governments’ initial SLFRF expenditure reports contain useful roadmaps on where they are heading with ARPA funds; large cities and counties (those with populations of at least 250,000) have also delivered the first in a series of annual plans that outline their intended and actual uses of SLFRF dollars. Together, these reports detail thousands of projects across dozens of eligible expenditure categories and form the data behind the Local Government ARPA Investment Tracker.
The Tracker currently captures recovery plan data from 41 large cities, 104 large counties, and seven consolidated city-counties that listed at least one specific project and associated dollar allocation in their first performance reports. Another 32 large cities and 124 large counties submitted reports, but did not list any planned projects in the “Project Inventory” section of those reports (e.g., Pittsburgh, Jackson County, Mo.). An additional nine large cities and 20 large counties did not submit reports. While the number of cities and counties reflected in the Tracker will grow over time as more information becomes available, those places already included reveal an important baseline for understanding and tracking local ARPA efforts moving forward.
Large cities and counties have planned projects representing about half of their total allocation of flexible dollars
Together, the 152 large cities and counties in our Tracker have set aside funds for more than 2,300 named projects. Those projects collectively represent $18.4 billion in planned spending—a …….